Rise and grind, coffee lovers, because it’s time to start brewing — a lot.
The average American coffee drinker consumes about three 8-ounce cups every day, per the National Coffee Association, but they’ll need to eke out just one more to attain the life-enhancing benefits of bean juice, according to new findings.
The recent study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, reveals that adults with a higher intake of caffeinated drinks were less frail and had significantly better physical function later in life.
“Coffee and tea are mainstay beverages in many societies around the world, including Singapore. Our studies show that consumption of these caffeinated drinks at midlife may be associated with a reduced likelihood of physical frailty in late life,” said study leader and National University of Singapore professor Koh Woon Puay in a press release.
Researchers surveyed data from 12,000 participants (based in Singapore and of Chinese descent) between ages 45 and 74 over the course of 20 years, taking note of diet, medical history, sociodemographic characteristics, height, weight, energy levels, physical activities and sleep duration.
The main sources of caffeine among those included in the study were coffee and tea, making up 84% and 12% of total caffeine, respectively. Of the participants who drank some coffee every day (68.5%), a vast majority stayed between one and three cups daily, while far fewer (4.9%) downed four or more.
During in-person interviews, study technicians also recorded the results of two critical physical assessments — a hand grip test and a balance exercise — to determine the physical frailty and fall risk among aging study volunteers.
According to the study methodology, physical frailty was determined by at least two out of the four following traits: exhaustion, weight loss of 10% or more between follow-ups, poor balance and a weak hand grip.
Based on their findings, researchers were able to determine that drinking coffee, black tea or green tea at midlife was “independently associated” with a largely reduced risk of physical frailty in late life.
Furthermore, those who had four or more cups of coffee per day had a substantially decreased likelihood of frailty later in life compared to those who didn’t have a daily cup of joe. Those who drank black or green tea daily also showed largely reduced chances of frailty compared to non-tea drinkers.
Researchers noted that further investigation is necessary to find the specific ingredients that led to the link between caffeinated beverages and physical frailty.
“Further studies are still needed to confirm these longitudinal associations, and to investigate if these effects on physical frailty are mediated by caffeine or other chemical compounds,” Koh said.